What Is A Croquet Wicket And How Is It Made?

Croquet wickets are important elements in a croquet set. Placed in various points across the court, their purpose is to help you score points. If you’re a croquet newbie, you may wonder what the wickets are and how they’re made. Let’s find it out.

A croquet wicket is a hoop comprising two vertical uprights joined at the top by a vertical crown. Each hoop leg has a pointed carrot shape for easier sticking into the ground. In terms of size, regulation wickets’ uprights have 5/8 inches in diameter and have a gap between 3-3/4 and 4 inches wide. The crown sits about 12 inches above the ground.

What are croquet wickets made of?

Originally, croquet wickets were made of wood – and you can still find this variety in vintage or collection croquet sets.

Nowadays, though, most hoops are made of metal or metal wire coated in plastic. The material choice varies based on the type of croquet sets.

What are recreational croquet wickets made of?

Inexpensive, recreational use croquet sets have flimsier wickets, generally made of thin metal wire coated in plastic. Instead of a crown, these wickets are bent into a round arch, and the legs don’t have the regulation “carrot” shape.

They are perfect for casual play and are often included in children’s sets. The size of these wickets may vary to suit smaller 6.5 to 12-ounce croquet balls.

Higher-quality backyard croquet sets have wickets made of thicker wire or metal. The diameters vary from about 1/4 of an inch to 1/2 of an inch

What are regulation croquet wickets made of?

Regulation croquet wickets are made of 5/8-diameter steel or cast iron. Cast iron is the traditional choice for club and tournament croquet.

Although cast iron has a rugged appearance and visible seams on the inside of the legs, these hoops grip onto the ball, stopping it from passing through. This material makes the game more challenging; thus, it is the preferred choice for tournament-level games.

Welded bright steel is another popular choice but not as popular as cast iron. The problem with welded steel is its smooth surface that is often criticized for letting the ball slip through easily.

No matter the type, all wickets have long legs that travel a considerable length underground. There isn’t a precise rule to follow, but remember that the wickets should be anchored enough to remain upright when a ball hits them. For this reason, tournament wickets go about 10 inches below ground.

What is the wicket size for regulation and garden croquet?

Not all croquet sets come with standard wickets. Some sets designed for recreational purposes – especially children’s sets – have larger hoops. The idea is to allow players to score points easily and prevent frustrating gameplay among the youngsters. Regulation wickets are smaller, generally about the size of a croquet ball.

Regulation croquet wicket size

According to the Croquet Association, regulation wickets stand 12 inches above the ground, about 10 inches below the ground, and have a gap between 3-3/4 and 4 inches. For club and tournament games, the size of the wicket is chosen based on the ball diameter – the hoop should be only slightly larger than the ball and only allow for clearance between 1/16 and 3/16 of an inch.

Garden croquet wicket size

Garden or backyard croquet sets don’t have to follow the regulation size when it comes to wickets, but most players still prefer to follow the 12-inch regulation height when setting them up.

The rule of thumb to follow when buying a set of garden croquet wickets is that the legs should be long enough to allow for at least 6 inches of anchorage into the ground. If the legs are shorter and you’re playing with smaller diameter balls, it is recommended to set them lower than 12 inches and provide at least 6 inches of anchorage.

Regarding the material, opt for sets with sturdier wickets made of solid wire or tube. As for the hoop gap, most garden wickets have an opening between 4 and 5 inches wide. While most tournament players would find these wickets too wide, the wider gap could be a better choice for kids and beginners.

How to set up croquet wickets?

Tournament croquet is generally a 6-wicket game, but most garden croquet sets have nine wickets. The way you set them up depends on the number of wickets you want to use.

How to set up a 6-wicket croquet court?

Set up the court measuring a rectangle that is 105 feet long by 84 feet wide. Divide the short sides into four lengths of 7 yards each. The longer sides must have five sections: two 7-yard sections, one at each end, followed by a 3.5-yard section and a middle section of 14 yards, divided in two in the middle.

To set the court, start from one side and position the first wicket perpendicular to the mark point between the 7-yard and 3.5-yard lengths. The middle point between the wicket legs should fall perpendicularly on the smaller side’s 7-yard point from the corner of the court. 

Go to the opposite corner and set the second hoop to mirror the first one. The third wicket should go in the middle of the first two but nearer the center of the court (in correspondence to the 3.5-yard mark or 10.5 yards from the boundary). The middle point between the hoop’s legs should intersect with the court’s central line.

Once you’ve set the first half of the court, move to the opposite side and place the remaining three wickets in a mirroring position.

How to set up a 9-wicket croquet court?

Backyard croquet sets generally have a 9-wicket set up and require a court size of 100 by 50 feet. Measure the court and mark the corners with flags.

Start from one side and place a stake at 6 feet toward the center of the court, perpendicular to the middle of the short side. Measure another 6 feet from the stake and place the first wicket. The second wicket should be positioned at 6 feet from the first one (18 feet from the boundary). 

Measure 16 feet from the second wicket towards the center of the court and draw an imaginary line from one side to another.

Along the line, measure 6 feet from the boundary and place the third wicket, then the fourth wicket on the other side, mirroring the third one.

Measure another 16 feet from the middle of the line (32 feet from the second wicket) and place the fifth wicket. If you’ve measured correctly, this wicket should be positioned right in the middle of the court. Place the remaining four wickets in place, mirroring the half of the court you’ve already set. 

If your yard is not big enough to allow for a 100 by 50 feet court, scale down but maintain the same wicket layout.